Working a nine-to-five office job is an everyday reality for many people. But scientists have been warning us for years about the catastrophic consequences of a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting by your desk for extended periods of time slows down your metabolism, weakens your muscles, affects your organs and impacts your heart’s capacity to pump blood and oxygen to your whole body, including the brain. Fortunately, there are some exercises you can do regularly to reverse these negative side effects of a desk job.
Get ready to flex your muscles, increase your heart-rate and activate your glutes – here are six office exercises that will help you stay healthy and fit.
Exercises To Counter The Negative Effects Of A Desk Job
1. Leg Swings
This is a perfect option for a stretch before every work out – it will loosen up your glutes, hamstrings and hips. Find something to hold for balance and begin forward leg swings. Lift your right leg 20 times, both forward and backwards, as high as you can. Then, switch to the other leg.
Once you’re done with this exercise, it’s time for side-to-side swings. Again, hold onto something to help your balance, then swing your leg out to the side and back again. Repeat 20 times before switching legs.
Place a chair in the middle of the room and stand in front of it. Keep your back straight and knees shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees, lowering yourself onto the chair. The chair should only touch your bottom momentarily – don’t rest on it! Engage your knees and press back up, squeezing your glutes as you return to standing. Repeat 20 times.
3. The Football Drill
While seated, pump both of your arms in the air above you for 30 seconds. Next, rapidly tap each foot on the ground as if running on the spot, football-drill style. Keep up the pace for 30 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
Stand straight, keeping your feet slightly wider than your shoulders, toes ahead or turned out and with your arms held out to each side. Reach your right arm down towards your left toe – simultaneously, reach with your left arm towards the ceiling. This is where you should also follow your gaze. Return to standing position and reverse the exercise, placing your left hand to your right toe with your right arm directed towards the ceiling. Repeat 15 times.
5. Hamstring Stretch
Keeping your feet square to front, raise your leg and rest it on a chair or other elevated surface. Make sure your back is straight, shoulders down, legs straight and bottom slightly out. Lean forwards from the hips, keeping your back position strong at all times – this will produce tension. Stop if you feel pain. Try to keep the lowered position for at least 30 seconds, then change sides. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
6. Hip Stretch
Take a split stance, making sure that your back heel stays up throughout the exercise. If you need some support, use a wall or desk. Your feet, knees and hips should be frontwards facing at all times. Keep your chest open and place your hands on your hips. Lower your body to drop the back knee to the floor. Rise back up in split stance, keeping your back heel off the floor. Repeat this exercise 15 times for each leg.
All of these exercises should be supported by your everyday choices – walk more, use the stairs instead of the elevator and consider incorporating a standing desk into your working day. When it comes to your health, every activity and added movement will make a difference!